Kitty Coiffure Oh My Mushi... Pet Portraits

'Kitty Coiffure... Ohh My Mushi' pastel by Minaz Jantz

'Kitty Coiffure...Oh, My Mushi' was commissioned by a daughter as a gift for her mother portraying the loving, still alive but very old cat named Mushi. 

'Kitty Coiffure, Oh My Mushi' By Minaz Jantz soft pastel on sandpaper

'Kitty Coiffure, Oh My Mushi'
By Minaz Jantz
soft pastel on sandpaper

Mushi's favorite pose is to sit with her front paws casually crossing while sitting with an air of dignity and her glowing crystal eyes, all knowingly confident, relaxing on her cozy mat. Each time I do a pet portrait it is a challenge to portray their feelings and a sense of character. Every pet not only has its personal color attributes but also the way they sit, stands, and plays.

The soft pastel painting is a compilation of several photos of “Mushi” who is a pure breed cat called a 'rag doll'. The breeds are very affectionate and will flop over your arm etc. just like a rag doll being great cats for those who like to play, pet, and brush.

I had just bought some new pastels from France called Sennelier soft pastels which mark another era in technique and color expansion. Each brand of pastel gives certain effects and the Sennelier and the England Brand Unison pastels result in a glazing effect giving some transparency, leaving a dusting on the surface, showing hints of previous colors, underneath each stroke of pastel.

CLOSE-UP of Oh My Mushi

CLOSE-UP of Oh My Mushi

For many of my pet portraits done in pastel, I have chosen a type of sandpaper usually used for sanding wet metal and I buy it at the hardware store. You will recognize it as the black crushed diamond surface that also comes in several surface weights but only comes in one size 9”x11”. I use 600 – 400 weight which grabs more pastel layers than the traditional pastel papers. Another most interesting feature, the surface of the sandpaper has sparkly crushed diamonds, which give a real sparkle when the light hits the finished painting, catching the viewer’s eyes subtly.

Mushi’s portrait challenged me to try different techniques with my new soft pastels to create her most divine daily brushed fur that puffs like candy cotton. Firstly, I stroked down several colors that will be underneath the top layers to give interest and depth to the fur. Then I put down some shades closer to the actual fur color while lightly rubbing the top layer of pastel with a make-up sponge to soften the pastel edges to a blur.

Purrrr-fectly Meow, Minaz

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